See How Your Donations Helped Changed the Lives of These Shelter Dogs

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Since its inception, GreaterGood has raised over 35 million for charities around the globe. Helping to fund programs that save lives is incredible, and something we take great pride in, but giving is much more than dollars and pallets of necessities. Every year groups of employees take trips to the areas that need help and put themselves to work, building housing, shelters, and helping to bring infrastructure projects to fruition. The stories and accomplishments are inspirational, and helps us remember why we do what we do.

This year, a group went to Puerto Rico to help with our Signature Program, Rescue Rebuild. Our team had incredible stories, and we wanted to share some of the highlights with you.

Sean Cherry, a Program Manager at took part in the Rescue Rebuild program, and he painted a tragic picture of the Las Marias Satellite Shelter in Puerto Rico.

“Las Marias Satellite Shelter is located in rural west-central Puerto Rico. On our one-hour plus trip to/from the hotel everyday, we would see dozens of “Satos” – the Puerto Rican word for stray dog – hanging out in the streets. Before we even arrived at the shelter, I could tell that stray dog overpopulation was a serious problem on the island.”

His reaction to seeing the state of the shelter shows how important their work is.

“Here, over forty dogs stood behind a fence with limited overhead protection from the natural elements. This region of Puerto Rico was amidst their rainy season, and rain came down throughout the day. These poor dogs would fight to go under what limited covering they had during rainfall. Others wouldn’t care to jockey for position; they would simply lie down in the mud until it passed”

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The shelter before our crew came to help.

Program manager Mark Harris painted a vivid, and tragic, portrait of the conditions inside the shelter.

“As for the shelter itself, the side room with the walls that needed to be removed were covered with ants. Literally, there were millions of ants crawling around the room, and eventually us. We had to remove 6 walls in there and eventually add a roof. The other room was not much better. It had pretty much been used as a giant liter box and smelled worse than anything I’d smelled before. I didn’t think we’d ever get that smell out.”

Alex Truccitto, the Operations Coordinator,, recounted the day they tore down the existing site in order to build a shelter the dogs deserved.

“We dug holes and poured cement, and placed poles. The bulldozer was digging the cesspool and repaving the driveway. Sarah (Parill, Apparel Copywriter & Marketing Assistant, and I grabbed sledgehammers and demolished six cinder block walls about 5 feet tall.  There were live water pipes strung through the cinder blocks. Mendez hit a block 3 times and busted the pvc pipe, so I had to climb the ladder up to the roof to turn off the water.  Water is very scarce in the town outside Larus where we are. Two days a week they are forced to go without water.”

Sarah recounted their first day’s schedule, and it was brutal.

“On my first day the schedule went as follows:

  1. Break cinder blocks
  2. Cuddle with cat
  3. Break more cinder blocks
  4. Get kisses from the puppies
  5. Break more cinder blocks
  6. Fight off swarms of ants
  7. Break more cinder blocks
  8. Try to make yourself believe the ants are just beads of sweat because your tired of fighting them
  9. Repeat”
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As you can tell, GreaterGood employees don’t just got to visit. We make sure to put them to work!

At the end of the project, the shelter became an entirely new haven for the animals in the area. Pam Ryberg of & CreativeKidstuff recounted the changes she saw on her final day in Puerto Rico.

“Two new dog play yards were constructed complete with small shelters with ramps for the dogs to get out of the rain. Also, steps were constructed to train the dogs how to use stairs in case the home they may be placed in has stairs to maneuver. The building was cleaned and screens were constructed to cover the windows and keep unwanted guests out. New doors replaced the ones that were rusted. Roofing was placed on half of the building that did not have a roof, and shelves were built for the food supplies. Unfortunately, I was not able to be there to see some of this completed. Also, some small shelters were erected to accommodate the felines in the area.”

Part of the play area post rebuild.


While these amazing men and women that went to help build this amazing shelter made an enormous difference, this work is only possible because of the help YOU have given us. Every fence, every roof, and every brick that went into the Las Marias Satellite Shelter comes from you. Thank you all so much for making this happen, and we will continue to share these amazing stories with you.

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